There haven't been many times this year where the Hurricanes have been able to outscore their problems and get away with playing a sub-par game, but this was the case in their 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. On paper, this should have been a game that the Hurricanes shouldn't have had much trouble with. The Canes haven't been a great team this year, but the Sabres have kind of been in a league in their own when it comes to awfulness. They currently rank last in the NHL standings and only the Toronto Maple Leafs have been outshot at a higher rate during five-on-five play this year. Carolina has typically played teams like the Sabres well this year and this game looked like a good opportunity for them to build some confidence.
The final result was good, but the Canes had a very hard time handling the Sabres on Thursday night. Buffalo was able to carry the play for most of the first and second period and the Canes had a very tough time containing the Sabres offense, allowing sixteen scoring chances through two periods. Considering how much trouble Buffalo has had creating offense, the Hurricanes allowing Buffalo to do that much damage through two periods is concerning.
That said, the Canes weathered the storm thanks to some timely goals from a couple of their top players (Alex Semin & Jeff Skinner) and took over the game in the third period. Similar to what they did against Philadelphia, only they had to play from behind more. The game flow was actually eerily similar to the win over the Flyers if you look at who contributed to the win. The first line had another two-goal performance, both of which coming off the stick of Alexander Semin, while the second line did a phenomenal job of driving the play and the other two lines did their best to stay above water with Nash's line producing the game winning goal in the third period.
Against a superior opponent, Carolina probably wouldn't have come away with a win. They took advantage of the mistakes made by the Sabres and played their best hockey in the third period, which probably isn't going to get it done against stronger defensive clubs so the Canes will need to tighten things up going forward. Playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road likely didn't help the Canes in this instance, but they have a few more of these on their plate and will have to get used to these situations no matter what. Still, a win is a win.no comments